A development expert and human rights crusader, Mr Princwill Ogban, has stated that Governor Ben Ayade’s defection to APC would deepen the democratic space in Cross River ahead of 2023 election.
Ayade had defection to the ruling APC on Thursday, May 20, 2021 and since then there has been alignment and re-alignment among political class.
Speaking with Daily Sun at the weekend in Calabar while reacting to criticisms trailing Ayade’s dumping of PDP, that gave him platform to be governor,, Ogban, the Nigerian-born Canadian based activist and development expert, said the governor’s movement ahead of 2023 is a good thing as it will afford the state the opportunity of seeing new faces.
“Ayade’s defection is a good thing for Cross Riverians because it will create an opportunity where for new faces in the political space of Cross River as the people seem to be tired of having the same faces in political circle since 1999.
“So I support the defection because it is going to make Cross River more democratised than before. You are going to see both PDP and APC campaigning giving people choices to run in both ways and allow electorate credible options.
“Besides, it would afford young generation opportunity to come to power because we don’t expect anyone older than the governor to take over in 2023. So let him start working towards handing over the state to the younger generation.
‘Secondly, I want him to respect the zoning formula that we have in the state. The I would want to see the person that will take over from Ayade come from the southern senatorial district for equity, justice and fairness to all segments that make up the state, he stated.
Calling on the people not to elect a hostile governor come 2023 so as not to throw the state into chaos, he said governance is a herculean task and there is need to elect the next leader who would be able to continue the industrial transformation and tourism development potentials of the state and respect people views and socio-cultural differences.
He maintained that those criticising the governor on his policy of massive appointment of aides are not only being selfish, but are out of tune with current realities of state being at forefront of provision of welfare for betterment of her citizens.
He said past governments had very few appointees and those appointees were very rich, adding that Ayade has succeeded in bringing in diverse people ranging from women to youths into his administration to give them sense of belonging thereby opening up more participation in governance.
On the on-going privatisation exerxise in the state, Ogban said it is a novelty for state governors to call for referendum on how to manage its industries, stressing that this is what obtains in Western societies and expressed optisim that Ayade will abide by the wishes of the people.
“The good thing is that today they have sent out questionnaires. It is interesting to see what is happening in Western world happen in the state. I am really impressed that Cross Riveeians are being asked to send in their input. It is a positive one and I believe that the governor will respect what comes out of that,” he stated.